Things remain wet and weary at senior center | SierraSun.com

Things remain wet and weary at senior center

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun

Staff and residents from the Truckee Donner Senior Apartments and Sierra Senior Services are attempting to serve their clients after flooding destroyed their kitchen, dining room and office space.

Frozen pipes burst in the kitchen on Saturday and Monday, damaging floors, commercial appliances, power supplies and cabinetry, and rendering the kitchen completely useless.

“Obviously the dining room is down, but we are still delivering Meals on Wheels,” said Lisa Kuly, home-delivered meals coordinator for Sierra Senior Services.

Every day the senior center provides a hot lunch on site for about 30 seniors, many of whom live on their own but can no longer cook. Another 50 home-bound seniors receive a daily hot meal via the home delivery program.

When staff saw that damage to the kitchen was beyond repair, they said the number one concern was their ability to continue the delivery service.

“For the rest of the week, it’s going to be soup and sandwiches,” Kuly said.

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Staffers and volunteers spent Tuesday morning preparing 40 tuna sandwiches and a giant pot of soup in a vacant apartment.

The kitchen was so small that more than one body at a time was a crowd, but the team made it work.

“Our (delivery) drivers are giving the word of mouth, so most consumers know what’s going on,” Kuly said. “They’re appreciative of the food and several have even told us not to deliver to them right now in order to relieve some of the burden.”

Blue Sky Homes donated temporary office space for the Sierra Senior Services staff to use until their own offices dry up, but no one was able to say how long that might be.

In the meantime, senior service Executive Director Melanie Kauffman has been searching for an interim commercial kitchen from which daily meals can be prepared. The kitchen may be required for an extended period of time.

“We are strategizing what our options are in both Truckee and around the lake, but we have limited options to meet the needs of the program, and meal production, and government regulations,” Kauffman said.

Because Sierra Senior Services is a nonprofit organization and much of its funding comes from government sources, the program must comply with strict nutritional guidelines and facility regulations, Kauffman said.

There are plenty of unknowns about how seniors and staff will manage while the meals program is on the rocks, according to Kuly.

On-premise lunch service cannot resume until the dining room has been inspected and approved, but the kitchen is attached to the dining room and it will likely need to be demolished.

“It’s challenging but we’ve been flexible,” Kuly said.

The Truckee Donner Senior Center’s kitchen and dining room flooded over the weekend and caused extensive damage. Sierra Senior Services is looking for an interim kitchen facility in which to prepare up to 100 meals for local seniors. To provide assistance, contact Melanie Kauffman at 550-7600.